Quote of the day
"Most people are bothered by those passages of scripture that they do not understand , but the passages that personally bother me are those that I Do understand!"
(H/T to my friend, Bill Lussenheide at Abundant Living )
"He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." Benjamin Franklin
"Most people are bothered by those passages of scripture that they do not understand , but the passages that personally bother me are those that I Do understand!"
(H/T to my friend, Bill Lussenheide at Abundant Living )
There are a variety of things driving American anxiety about illegal immigration and we all know them--economic arguments, the danger of porous borders in the age of terrorism, with anyone able to come in.Keep your promise and read the rest of it.
But there's another thing. And it's not fear about "them." It's anxiety about us.
It's the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all.
We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways--in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That's how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans.
We are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically now. We are assimilating them culturally. Within a generation their children speak Valley Girl on cell phones. "So I'm like 'no," and he's all 'yeah,' and I'm like, 'In your dreams.' " Whether their parents are from Trinidad, Bosnia, Lebanon or Chile, their children, once Americans, know the same music, the same references, watch the same shows. And to a degree and in a way it will hold them together. But not forever and not in a crunch.
So far we are assimilating our immigrants economically, too. They come here and work. Good.
But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.
What is the legend, the myth? That God made this a special place. That they're joining something special. That the streets are paved with more than gold--they're paved with the greatest thoughts man ever had, the greatest decisions he ever made, about how to live. We have free thought, free speech, freedom of worship. Look at the literature of the Republic: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist papers. Look at the great rich history, the courage and sacrifice, the house-raisings, the stubbornness. The Puritans, the Indians, the City on a Hill.
The genius cluster--Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Madison, Franklin, all the rest--that came along at the exact same moment to lead us. And then Washington, a great man in the greatest way, not in unearned gifts well used (i.e., a high IQ followed by high attainment) but in character, in moral nature effortfully developed. How did that happen? How did we get so lucky? (I once asked a great historian if he had thoughts on this, and he nodded. He said he had come to believe it was "providential.")
We fought a war to free slaves. We sent millions of white men to battle and destroyed a portion of our nation to free millions of black men. What kind of nation does this? We went to Europe, fought, died and won, and then taxed ourselves to save our enemies with the Marshall Plan. What kind of nation does this? Soviet communism stalked the world and we were the ones who steeled ourselves and taxed ourselves to stop it. Again: What kind of nation does this?
Only a very great one. Maybe the greatest of all.
Do we teach our immigrants that this is what they're joining? That this is the tradition they will now continue, and uphold?
Do we, today, act as if this is such a special place? No, not always, not even often. American exceptionalism is so yesterday. We don't want to be impolite. We don't want to offend. We don't want to seem narrow. In the age of globalism, honest patriotism seems like a faux pas.
And yet what is true of people is probably true of nations: if you don't have a well-grounded respect for yourself, you won't long sustain a well-grounded respect for others.
Earlier this week, President Bush urged that the debate on illegal immigration be conducted in a “civil and dignified” manner. I agree. And perhaps no one needs to hear that admonition more than Mexican President Vicente Fox, with whom President Bush is now meeting. President Fox has made it clear that he has nothing but contempt for our laws and our people. And his remarks have been anything but civil or dignified.You need to read the rest of it. Too bad we don't have more guys like this in Washington.
President Fox has called U.S. border control efforts in San Diego and Texas “discriminatory.” He said those of us opposed to illegal immigration are part of “minority, xenophobic, discriminatory groups.” And President Fox astounded us all when he declared that illegal aliens in the U.S. “take work that not even blacks want to do.”
President Fox called the Minutemen “migrant hunters,” yet calls Mexican illegal aliens “heroes.” He called the House passage of a provision authorizing the construction of a border fence, “disgraceful and shameful.” He refuses to even recognize that those who cross our border without permission are illegals, infamously telling Sean Hannity, “They are not illegals. They are people that come there to work, to look for a better opportunity.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez has been equally intemperate and contemptuous of our sovereignty. Derbez called the House-passed immigration reform bill, “stupid and underhanded.” He recently speculated that one cross-border incident in Texas might not have involved Mexicans at all, but American troops masquerading as Mexican soldiers to help drug runners. He once even referred to Hispanic voters in Arizona as “our own Mexican-Americans.”
And we’re supposed to be the arrogant ones in the relationship?
Italy granted asylum Wednesday to an Afghan who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity, and Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the man was in the care of the Interior Ministry after arriving in Italy earlier in the day.
Abdul Rahman "is already in Italy. I think he arrived overnight," Berlusconi said, declining to release more details.
Rahman's jailing in Afghanistan inspired an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and efforts by the United Nations to find a country to take him.
Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini had been outspoken about the case from the start, saying Italy had a duty to make clear its "indignation."
PHOENIX - Momentum is quietly building in the state for the next big thing in education: preschool for Arizona children younger than 5.
Education advocates are pushing for the requirement, citing research that shows very young children can absorb high-level skills much earlier than once believed. They also say mandatory preschool could close the learning gap between rich and poor students, and even raise the state's reputation, brought down by national test scores and a high dropout rate.
The goal is to help every child-care center decrease the time kids spend sitting in plastic swings, listening to music or watching television and increase the time spent on focused lesson plans to recognize shapes and letters and count 1-2-3 crackers for their afternoon snack.
Gov. Janet Napolitano has always made education for the state's youngest children one of her top priorities. But many Republican lawmakers are still debating the merits of the state paying for full-day kindergarten. Preschool isn't even on their agenda.
Critics worry mandatory preschool could put child-care centers out of business and are not convinced lesson plans for babies and toddlers are a good thing.
Both advocates and critics worry about the cost.
Last year, there were 531,000 infants to 5-year-olds in Arizona. Thirty percent of them lived in poverty, and 60 percent of their parents worked.
Wealthier working parents can spend $700 or more a month to send a child to a private preschool with degreed teachers, small classes and individual learning goals for children ages 1 to 3.
For children whose parents have low incomes, there are government-funded preschools, where teachers are trained to help kids catch up with their peers by the time they reach kindergarten. But only about 37,600 children participate in those programs.
The bulk of Arizona's working families make due with the closest and cheapest child care. For the lucky ones, that means a grandparent. For most, it's a child-care center nearest to work or home
The Bush administration is pushing a program to legalize "guest workers." But what is a guest? Someone you have invited. People who force their way into your home without your permission are called gate crashers.Please read the rest of his column. How wonderful it would be if our politicians were just half as intellectually honest as Dr. Sowell.
If truth-in-packaging laws applied to politics, the Bush guest worker program would have to be called a "gate-crasher worker" program. The President's proposal would solve the problem of illegal immigration by legalizing it after the fact.
We could solve the problem of all illegal activity anywhere by legalizing it. Why use this approach only with immigration? Why should any of us pay a speeding ticket if immigration scofflaws are legalized after the fact for committing a federal crime?
Most of the arguments for not enforcing our immigration laws are exercises in frivolous rhetoric and slippery sophistry, rather than serious arguments that will stand up under scrutiny.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee approved sweeping election-year legislation Monday that clears the way for 11 million illegal aliens to seek U.S. citizenship, a victory for demonstrators who had spilled into the streets by the hundreds of thousands demanding better treatment for immigrants.Conservatives have all but given up on the left-leaning republicans. I guess the incumbent repubs know conservatives have no place to go.
With a bipartisan coalition in control, the committee also voted down proposed criminal penalties on immigrants found to be in the country illegally. It approved a new temporary program allowing entry for 1.5 million workers seeking jobs in the agriculture industry.
After years of fighting the obvious and neutralizing gender differences, we need to give our boys permission ...Be sure you read the rest of the piece. This is a growing trend. Last week I mentioned a piece in the Washington Post, titled Man Overboard which was hypercritical of "manliness." You know that masculinity and "manliness" is making a strong comeback when it begins to threaten the feminist status quo. I'm going to leave that last sentence as it is, but the feminists have never been the "status quo;" they've had a vice grip hold on the genitals of the MSM, but they've never really "been" the "status quo." They've only been able to convey that because of the "genitalia vice-grip." Now that the MSM has become immasculated by the New Media, "manliness" and masculinity is coming back in "style."
It's amusingly ironic: A "menaissance" is emerging from the belly of the politically correct beast. In a book recklessly titled Manliness, Harvard government prof Harvey Mansfield proposes rehabilitating the concept Â not just the qualities of heroism, courage and assertiveness that the term implies, but their distinctly male incarnations. Manliness, Dr. Mansfield asserts, is confidence in the face of risk, the kind of brashness that made Harry Truman declare "the buck stops here" and propelled Gary Cooper to face down the outlaw at high noon. He believes that manliness has lost its place in a society that denies the differences between the sexes and banishes gender-specific language. "To the extent that feminism recognizes gender differences at all, it presents them as bad, and as the fault of men," he writes.
Of course, the word is obsolete, except in the ironic sense. Think of the "manly man's man" skit on Saturday Night Live and its comedic antonym, the "girly man." But the reality of "manliness" is still with us, Dr. Mansfield says. "Young men still pick fights, often with deadly weapons," he writes. "What we suffer from today is a lack of intelligent criticism of manliness."
As the mother of a 16-year-old boy, I'm reading the book because I believe Dr. Mansfield is wrestling, philosophically, with a question that has pragmatic implications for our boys.
Raising one boy and one girl, it's obvious to me that the idea that boys and girls are the "same" (except for their equipment) is patently idiotic. I cherish my son's abundant "boy energy." Despite a year of indoctrination in women's studies in college, I found I didn't have the stomach to fashion him into a tamely sensitized male. That would deny the essence of who he is. I love him in part because he's a boy, not in spite of it.
CHILDREN as young as five have suffered strokes, heart attacks, hallucinations and convulsions after taking drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Documents obtained by The Australian reveal that almost 400 serious adverse reactions have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, some involving children as young as three.
Cases include the sudden death of a seven-year-old, and a five-year-old who suffered a stroke after taking Ritalin. Children also experienced heart palpitations and shortness of breath after taking Dexamphetamine.
Others taking Ritalin or Dexamphetamine - the two most commonly used ADHD drugs - experienced hair loss, muscle spasms, severe abdominal pain, tremors, insomnia, severe weight loss, depression and paranoia.
Almost 60 of the adverse-reaction reports dating back to 1980, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, involved children under the age of 10.
An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.
The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.
An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.
The article goes on to identify and personalize the man in the above photo falling to his eminent death after jumping from the top of the WTC tower two. Be sure to go there and read the entire piece.
Everyone remembers the horrifying images of September 11, 2001. Anyone alive and aware on that date will live with those images the rest of his or her life. The scenes of havoc and panic, destruction and slaughter, demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that even though the United States military is the best trained and well equipped in the world, our country remains vulnerable to the wicked.
When one accepts the fact -- and it is a fact -- that the free world, not just the United States, is at war with radical Islam, this story is all the more chilling and disturbing. (emphasis mine)
The mainstream media in the United States has taken the images of September 11, 2001, off the television and out of the newspapers. They say that the images are too disturbing, that they incite a want for revenge rather than allow closure. But they are wrong to do this.
The United States should not and cannot simply forgive and forget just because the host country of the Taliban and al Qaeda -- Afghanistan -- has been liberated and transformed.
Facts demonstrate that al Qaeda, the Taliban and radical Islam have been planning and preparing to implement their global campaign of terrorism -- their declared war against the Western World -- since before 1993, well before September 11th.
Their central location for training may have been eliminated, but they had prepared for that, splintering like roaches to the four corners of the world, preparing, planning and implementing their battle plans made decades before.
Make no mistake, they are a cunning adversary. They understood that the U.S. would come after them. They planned for this event.
This war cannot be about "tolerance" or forgiving, or about understanding the "reasons why" someone would want to murder innocents whether it be with an airplane, a car bomb, a suicide vest or a saif.
This battle has to be about freedom and the right of innocents to live their lives in liberty, free of fear from an unholy sect of genocidal totalitarians who offer only oppression, dominance and terror as their bounty.
The "progressive" left and the complicit mainstream media would have us believe that America is to blame for her audacity in the promotion of freedom and free markets, liberty and the vision of a world free of dictators who torture, murder and slaughter for power.
To that extent, "progressives" and the agenda-driven media are dangerous and a direct threat to the existence of our country, teetering on the brink of treason and sedition. They will attack these words by saying that I have intimated that they are not patriotic and un-American.
For the record, I hold the belief that anyone who believes the United States brought 9/11 onto itself IS unpatriotic and un-American. I believe that they have become toadies for our enemy and should be treated and opposed as such.
While they manipulate the true meaning of the First Amendment's free speech clause, they attempt to indoctrinate and transform our youth and the less-than-suspecting among us into believing in the doctrine of self-loathing, an oppressive ideology born of the less than great thinkers of Europe almost a century ago.
Instant access to information on the internet is certainly one of the blessings of our age. In a fraction of the time that it once took, we can read about the geography of Madagascar, research the veracity of the latest urban legends, check the value of our investments, look for employment opportunities, listen to the President's latest speech and the opposing party's reaction, and learn about the latest alternative energy sources. We can buy a best-seller, download music, research the trade-in value of our cars, chat with a stranger in Finland, argue politics with someone in New York, buy tickets to Las Vegas, and ask advice on anything from homeopathic medicine to the deciphering of logarithms.
All of this we can do while sipping coffee during lunch hour or in the comfort of our own homes. In fact, if you need something now, there is probably a way to get it via the internet.
All of that can be very good, but here is the problem: We can't really have everything now. We can't have peace on earth now. We can't have perfect health now. We can't instantly solve marriage problems, or neighbor problems, or any other interpersonal (or international) problems of the moment.
Expect solutions to national problems in the a nano-second time-frame? Won't happen, but sometimes we expect our duly elected officials to do just that. Medicare is in a crisis? Just pass a law and fix it. Oil prices are too high and we need alternative sources of energy? Just turn corn into alcohol and we'll all drive merrily into the sunset. The situation in the Middle East is wrenchingly horrid? Everybody just needs to learn to get along. It doesn't matter that the problems of the world have been decades or centuries (or even millennia) in the making. We want the problems solved, and we want them solved now.
Although we have instant access today to information and commerce, and that has contributed to our "now" mentality, the internet did not cause the attitude. Impatience has always been a part of the human experience. Biblically, patience is a virtue and a vital part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). And in ancient times it was too often missing even as it is today.
When Moses returned to Egypt after his 40-year exile with the commission in hand to lead his nation out of slavery, he and his brother Aaron met with the leaders of Israel and related to them all that God had promised he would do. They believed Moses, but they failed to see that it would take some time. When Pharoah rebuffed Moses and Aaron and vowed to make the Israelite bondage even more unbearable, the Israelites reacted as we might well expect: "You have made us a stench to Pharoah and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us." (Exodus 5:21 NIV)
Good things take time, but they wanted their freedom now. Jesus fielded some of the same questions from his disciples. Not long after his resurrection, they wanted to know if now was the time. "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus answer: "It is not for you to know." (Acts 1: 6, 7 NIV).
I take the obvious lesson from this, that we need to patiently bear this life and world until the fullness of the kingdom comes, which will be in God's time and not ours. I also take another lesson from it: good things take time. We cannot expect pushbutton answers to the worlds ills nor to ours. If it takes longer than a 24 hour news cycle to win the war on terror, we should not lose heart. Good things take time.
A new Supercenter that opened this week in the Dallas suburb of Plano features over 400 organic foods as part of an experiment to see what kinds of products and interior decor can grab the interest of upscale shoppers.Here in Dallas, high end super markets such as Whole Foods Market and Central Market are the places to go for large varieties of organic products and they are quite pricy compared to your regular Albertsons, Kroger, et al, but that hasn't seemed to hurt business. Quite the contrary is true...Organic outlets are popping up everywhere. With Wal-Mart getting into the organic scene, prices will be coming down big time!
"Like many big companies, they have figured out it is just good marketing and good reputation building to be in favor of things that Americans are increasingly interested in," Peterson said.
"They have huge potential because it's not just Wal-Mart we're talking about, it's their entire supply chain," said Jeff Erikson, U.S. director of London-based consultancy and research group SustainAbility. The group says it does not do any consulting work for Wal-Mart.
Erikson said Wal-Mart could bring the same pressure it has exerted over the years on prices and apply that to pushing manufacturers and competitors to adopt more sustainable business practices and larger organic offerings.
"We love to see companies like Wal-Mart taking a big step and making pronouncements as they have, because their tentacles are so large," Erikson said.
Wal-Mart plans to double its organic grocery offerings in the next month and continue looking for more products to offer in areas such as grocery, apparel, paper and electronics.
Sustainability experts say what makes this program interesting is that Wal-Mart will work with its suppliers to get more fisheries around the globe certified by MSC, instead of just buying up the existing stock of certified fish.Hubba hubba! This is great news for everyone! Ain't capitalism grand!
Wal-Mart says this means there will be more sustainable fish that will also be available to Wal-Mart's competitors, such as Whole Foods Market, which already sells about 18 MSC certified items, according to the MSC Web site. Wal-Mart plans to offer between 200 and 250 items.
At this point there doesn't seem to be an equitable settlement with which both sides can abide.
Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces."
..."Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.
...On Wednesday, authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial.
But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul's most popular mosques said they do not believe Rahman is insane.
"He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.
"The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed," Hamidullah said.
Raoulf, who is a member of the country's main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, agreed. "The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled."
"Cut off his head!" he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque. "We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left."
...Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country.
"If he is allowed to live in the West, then others will claim to be Christian so they can too," he said. "We must set an example. ... He must be hanged."
..."We are a small country and we welcome the help the outside world is giving us. But please don't interfere in this issue," Nasri said. "We are Muslims and these are our beliefs. This is much more important to us than all the aid the world has given us."
"To me this is a very disturbing story. It seems that the provisional Afghan government is trying to find a manageable way out of a terrible public relations nightmare.At the risk of sounding a bit paranoid, I can see this happening in a country or world run by leftists. After all, when Christians express disapproval of abortion, adultery, homosexuality and Godless behavior in general, the secular world views those beliefs as archaic and unacceptable in the post-modern, moral relativistic realm. We must be crazy if we don't acquiese to the dogma of the left. With this in mind, can we ever allow them or their ilk to be in charge?
Apparently, their decision to prosecute a muslim for the crime of converting to Christianity has provoked worldwide revulsion. There is an obvious perception that their catastrophic disregard for religious freedom exposes the Afghani government as primitive and backwards.
Psychiatry to the rescue. As during many dark times in world history, a government is seeking respite through the misapplication and manipulation of science.
Rather than upset their constituency, the Afghani prosecution has engaged in the age-old deception of diagnosing mental illness when it serves the state's purposes. They have raised the possibility that the accused, Abdul Rahman, is insane and can therefore not be prosecuted under Islamic law.
Afghanistan avoids the global firestorm they've caused by executing someone for creating an affront to Islam. At the same time they evidence a facade of civility by refusing to prosecute this "poor" mentally impaired man.
To even imagine that this highly dubious notion will be adequately examined and that an accurate picture of his true psychological profile will be brought to light is laughable. Whether it's Afghanistan trying to defuse a political liability or the Soviet Union or China claiming that dissident political views constitute mental illness worthy of commitment, this perversion of science is wrong.
Everyone within the healing professions should decry this blatantly transparent abuse of the mental health discipline."
"There were only 17 known evangelical Christians in the country before al-Qaeda attacked the United States. Today, the number of Afghan Christians is in the thousands and growing quickly. Church leaders say Afghan Muslims are open to hearing the gospel message like never before. Dozens of baptisms occur every week. People are snatching up Bibles and other Christian books as fast as they can be printed or brought into the country. The Jesus film—a two hour docudrama on the life of Christ based on the Gospel of Luke—was even shown on television in one city before police shut down the entire TV station. 'God is moving so fast in Afghanistan, we're just trying to keep up,' one Afghan Christian worker told me, requesting anonymity. 'The greatest need now is leadership development. We need to train pastors to care for all these new believers.'"Be sure to read the whole piece. Rosenberg includes some new updates to the story.
In Epicenter, the non-fiction book I'm writing now (due out in December from Tyndale), I describe in detail the amazing story of how more Muslims are turning to Christ today than at any other time in history, from Morocco to Central Asia. Which is why I view this developing story out of Kabul with so much concern. An Afghan Muslim convert to Christianity is facing prosecution and thus the death penalty for becoming a follower of Jesus. This is not what we meant when we liberated that needy country from the death grip of the Taliban.
Anyone who has ever been in a schoolyard can see that boys and girls deal with conflict in diametrically different ways. When boys have a problem with each other, the cause of the feud is usually well known to both parties, and they tend to confront one another directly, often physically. The worst insult a boy can endure is to be told that he fights like a girl. While such battles can be violent, they are also short-lived. The victor often offers his hand and helps the defeated boy from the ground. More often then not, the fight is forgotten within days and the boys resume their friendship as if nothing had ever happened.This is a must read, boys and girls! It's one of those basic truths the author aptly applies to geo-political warfare. So simple and yet so unobserved or maybe the concept is off the politically correct charts. Yep! That's why this hasn't been noted before now. There isn't supposed to be any noticeable differences between boys and girls. Still, it's a great piece which must be read in its entirety.
Girls, on the other hand, fight more subversive battles. Instead of confronting one another directly, they will wage a covert war by spreading rumors and ostracizing the object of their current anger. Very often, one party has no idea what caused the rift and may not even know that there is a war until she is blindsided by an unexpected attack, usually coming from another girl claiming to be her friend. Girls also tend to hold grudges and feuds can last for an interminable length of time. The attacks are often personal and aimed at emotional vulnerabilities as opposed to physical ones. Any parent of a middle-school age daughter can tell you that the focus of girls in grades 5-8 is to make each other miserable, and they are very good at it.
The Western way of war is rooted in the male style of fighting and is very much the way the United States has dealt with defeated enemies in the past. Confront them directly, hit them hard, and then give them the helping hand to rebuild and become an ally. Warfare has a set of rules, both written and unwritten, and there is the unspoken understanding that both sides will fight “like gentlemen.” An enemy who refuses to fight that way is often viewed as weak and too scared to “come out and fight like men.” In other words, they fight around the edges like girls
Last night on my radio show, I spoke at some length about the plight of Afghan citizen Abdul Rahman, who is facing the death penalty for the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. (A recent news report suggests that the prosecution will now claim Rahman is mentally impaired, which might result in the government dropping the death penalty). I observed that the vast majority of soldiers who liberated the 25 million Muslims living in Afghanistan were Christian; the vast majority of soldiers presently protecting the young Afghan democracy from Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists are Christian; and through it all many brave soldiers, most of whom are Christian, died in these efforts.
I was and remain a staunch advocate for this war. But one thing we've apparently not conveyed to our Afghan allies is that an essential element of democracy is tolerance — tolerance for differing views and practices. Our soldiers, most of whom are Christian, did not die so their faith could be put on trial.
I also note that Muslims rioted across the world over Danish cartoons that they believed ridiculed their religion. Embassies were burned to the ground, people were killed, world leaders issued statements of condemnation, and so forth. And yet here we have a man who faces death because he chooses to practice Christianity and recognizes Jesus Christ as the son of God.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/22/2006) - A prominent national Islamic civilEncouraging news!
rights and advocacy group today called on the government of Afghanistan
to release Abdul Rahman, a man facing the death penalty for converting
from Islam to Christianity.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says
the man's conversion is a personal matter not subject to the
intervention of the state.
Where are Hollywood and the Glitterati? Where are Barbara Streisand? Where is Cindy Sheehan? George Clooney? Sean Penn? All the rest of the intellectual elite of the entertainment world who think it their inherent right to instruct the rest of us on the virtues of tolerating everything from porn to persecution? Everything except the simple faith of one Christian man standing by himself in a Muslim nation.
lWhere are Barry Lynn and Americans United for Separation of Church and State? Where are the leaders of the liberal mainline Protestant Denominations and the National Council of Churches?
The silence of these people is truly deafening.
And where are the Evangelical and Fundamentalist leaders challenging their flocks to candlelight vigils, protests and prayers on behalf of Rahman? Will America's Christians stand by like Saul of Tarsus to hold the coats of those slaughtering this brave man of Afghanistan?
By JENNIFER LOVEN
Associated Press Writer
President Bush said Wednesday that he is "deeply troubled" that an Afghan man is being tried for converting to Christianity.
Abdul Rahman, 41, faces a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago. He has been charged with rejecting Islam, a crime under this country's Islamic laws. Bush said in a speech that a young democracy is growing in Afghanistan, but he's concerned about the case.
"We expect them to honor the universal principle of freedom," Bush said. "I'm troubled when I hear, deeply troubled when I hear, the fact that a person who converted away from Islam may be held to account. That's not the universal application of the values that I talked about. I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship."
Rahman's trial started last week, but a state prosecutor said Wednesday that he may be mentally unfit to stand trial. Moayuddin Baluch, a religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai, said Rahman would undergo a psychological examination and the case will be dropped if he's found mentally unfit.
So Where does the money go --Total Teacher Pay is less than 40% of all ExpendituresPublic education, like all government programs, is out of control and parents must demand accountability. Be sure to read Stossel's piece linked above.
Total 2002 spending $28,667,838,747
Number of Teachers 282,583
Total Spending per teacher $101,449
Ave Total Teacher pay $40,049
Where does the other $61,400 go?
Note: Less than 40% of all Texas public school expenditures go to the teachers in the classroom, delivering instruction to students.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.
Now, in a major test of Afghanistan's fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country's justice minister.
"We will cut him into little pieces," said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. "There's no need to see him."
Rahman's trial, which started Thursday, is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It goes to the heart of the struggle between Islamic reformists and fundamentalists in the country, which is still recovering from 23 years of war and the harsh rule of the Taliban, a radical religious regime that fell in late 2001.
Even under the more moderate government now in power, Islamic law is supposed to be followed, and many believe it requires the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam for another religion.
I have a new theory about what's behind everything that's wrong with the Bush administration: manliness.But I digress.
The children will not be taught AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease until sex education classes, which usually begin in the fourth grade.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights insists, however, that fact makes little difference.
What matters, he says, is "that this represents a coordinated effort on the part of city officials to sexually engineer our children."
"If they were truly interested in protecting kids from diseases, they would start by teaching them about such things as food poisoning," he said.
Donahue says its time for Catholic parents who send their children to public schools to "put their foot down: pull their kids from these classes, refuse to teach them about AIDS and then inform their principal of their refusal to cooperate."
"Let's see if the education establishment has the nerve to settle this matter in court," he said.
New York's education department insists the lessons are age-appropriate, but many parents who have looked at some of the material disagree, reports WCBS-TV in New York City.
Queens fifth grader Charles Comaianni had never heard of AIDS but got a lesson yesterday "about the immune system and what happens when your immune system is down"
By the end of this week, WCBS said, the 10-year-old will learn the disease is spread by unprotected sex or by sharing needles.
He also will learn about homosexuality and HIV prevention methods – including a condom demonstration – things his father Nick Comaianni says he doesn't want his son to know about yet.
10 Things God Won't Ask On Judgment Day
1. God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people did you drive to Church who didn't have transportation.
2. God won't ask the square footage of your house. He'll ask how many people did you invite into your home.
3. God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet. He'll ask how many did you help clothe.
4. God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to get it.
5. God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
6. God won't ask about how popular you were. He'll ask how many people to were you a friend.
7. God won't ask about what neighborhood you were in. He'll ask if you were a good neighbor.
8. God won't ask about the color of your skin. He'll ask about the content of your character.
9. God won't ask about the things you didn't understand. He'll ask about how well you acted upon that which you did know.
10. God won't ask about why it took you so long to seek salvation. He'll lovingly take you in his arms and call you his child.
"Under the legislation, illegal aliens in the United States would obtain six-year nonimmigrant visas under which they could work in the country and travel outside the country. The aliens would have to pay a $1,000 fine and undergo background checks.McCain-Feingold, Kennedy-McCain...vote against the president as often as possible to maintain the maverick image among the fawning media, but kiss up to the president when it's to McCain's advantage...do you see a pattern here? And remember when presidential wannabe, Sen. Kerry toyed with McCain by considering him as his Veep and McCain took his time to finally hemhaw a thanks, but no thanks? Sen. McCain is an opportunistic RINO and will never fool the conservative base of the republican party.
After six years, the aliens would be able to meet certain requirements and then apply for a green card, or permanent residency.
Besides voting on the bill after the recess, committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the panel also would vote on a bill by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that would give illegal aliens up to five years to leave the U.S. After returning home, they could then apply to return, either as temporary workers or for permanent residency.
"Our intention is not to strand anyone outside the country," Kyl said, according to an AP report. But he asserted the McCain-Kennedy plan would give an illegal alien allowed to stay and work in the country a "huge advantage" over a person having to wait for years in his or her own country for a green card."
AMSTERDAM, Holland, March 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) Â Potential immigrants to The Netherlands will be faced with a film showing two men kissing in a park, and a woman in a topless swimsuit, after Wednesday of this week.Heh heh!
The DVD is part of a new entrance test designed to determine if applicants are open to the socially liberal views of the country. Their reaction to the footage will be recorded and used as part of the evaluation process.
Only applicants from predominantly Muslim countries such as the Middle East and Asia will have to view the film. People seeking entrance from other EU countries, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan will be exempt.
The driver in question was Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar.Be sure to read Steyn's entire piece...you can't just read a couple of paragraphs and do him justice.
Whoa, don't jump to conclusions. The Times certainly didn't. As the report continued:
"According to statements taken by the police, Mr. Taheri-azar, 22, an Iranian-born graduate of the university, felt that the United States government had been 'killing his people across the sea' and that his actions reflected 'an eye for an eye.'"
"His people"? And who exactly would that be? Taheri-azar is admirably upfront about his actions. As he told police, he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world."
And yet the M-word appears nowhere in the Times report. Whether intentionally or not, they seem to be channeling the great Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali, who died a millennium ago but whose first rule on the conduct of dhimmis -- non-Muslims in Muslim society -- seem to have been taken on board by the Western media:
The dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle. . . .
Are they teaching that at Columbia Journalism School yet?
A fellow called Mohammed mows down a bunch of students? Just one of those things -- like a gran'ma in my neck of the woods a couple of years back who hit the wrong pedal in the parking lot and ploughed through a McDonald's, leaving the place a hideous tangle of crumbled drywall, splattered patties and incendiary hot apple-pie filling. Yet, according to his own statements, Taheri-azar committed an act of ideological domestic terrorism, which he'd planned for two months. He told police he was more disappointed more students in his path weren't struck and that he'd rented the biggest vehicle the agency had in order to do as much damage to as many people as possible. The Persian car pet may have been flooring it, but the media are idling in neutral, if not actively reversing away from the story as fast as they can. Taheri-azar informed the judge he was "thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah," and it was apparently the will of Allah that he get behind the wheel of Allah.
"He believed in what he was doing," Malia Fry said of her husband. "He was protecting his country, and he was doing his job because he didn't want his children to grow up with people blowing up buildings."God bless and comfort his family.
As an explosive ordinance disposal technician, Fry disarmed hundreds of bombs during his six-month stint in Iraq.
On Wednesday, he volunteered to defuse one more bomb, which exploded and killed him, family members said.
"He laid down his life so other Marines would be safe, and he did it willingly," Malia Fry said. "Every EOD tech that is over there does the same thing a hundred times a day, and they don't think about themselves. They think about the Marines. . . . They think about the children that are over there."
In interviews, Fry's family described him as selfless in his work, protecting his comrades and Iraqis from explosive devices.
Both his wife and his mother, Beth Fry of Lorena, described an incident in which the Marine answered a call to disarm a bomb and played a game of hide-and-seek with a young Iraqi boy before sending the youngster away from the site and out of danger.
On another occasion, Fry arrived at an Iraqi home to find a bomb strapped to a young Iraqi boy with mental retardation.
The Marine disarmed the bomb and saved the child's life.
And yet, experts say, covert operatives who pose as something other than diplomats are becoming increasingly important in the global war on terror.
"In certain areas you just can't collect the kind of information you need in the 21st Century by working out of the embassy. They're just not going to meet the kind of people they need to meet," said Melvin Goodman, who was a senior Soviet affairs analyst at the CIA for more than 20 years before he retired.
The problem, Goodman said, is that transforming a CIA officer who has worked under "diplomatic cover" into a "non-official cover" operator, or NOC--as was attempted with Valerie Plame--creates vulnerabilities that are not difficult to spot later on.
The CIA's challenge, in Goodman's view, is, "How do you establish a cover for them in a day and age when you can Google a name . . . and find out all sorts of holes?"
In Plame's case, online computer searches would have turned up her tenure as a junior diplomat in the U.S. Embassy in Athens even after she began passing herself off as a privately employed "energy consultant."
The solution, Goodman suggested, is to create NOCs at the very outset of their careers, "taking risks with younger people, worrying about the reputation of people before they have one. Or create one."
Short and longterm, the CIA has to get a handle on this pesky little problem, without sabotaging the integrity of the freeform internet.
Maybe they could use the internet to mislead and misdirect would-be infiltrators and data miners. Maybe they could create entire scenarios with ficticious agents and double agents. Better yet, maybe they could "leak" the names of enemy agents and operators as though they were covert CIA operatives and let the enemy take care of them.
Check out the article...it's a fascinating read!Unrelated to the above article, but certainly no less fascinating, is a story about the CIA Museum, open only to employees and their families, which you can see at The Memory Hole. There's some amazing stuff on display!
A spokesman for the National Archives in Washington confirmed that Southern Methodist University retained Hillier Architecture of Princeton, N.J., to prepare a conceptual master plan for the coveted project, tentatively plotted in the southeastern quadrant of the campus, bounded roughly by Airline Road, North Central Expressway and SMU Boulevard.It's not known when the location for the library will be announced.
"It is intended to extend the mission of the library into the entire university," said a supporter who has seen the plan SMU presented to the presidential site selection committee in November.
"It is not going to be a stand-alone building in a field."
That's an approach that differs from recent presidential libraries, which generally have been autonomous structures, detached from their surroundings.
In the hunt for the new Bush library, Texas Tech University wants to place it and companion buildings on 100 acres in Lubbock, where "space is ample and vehicle friendly." The other finalists, Baylor University in Waco and the University of Dallas, also have offered large swaths of land – although federal guidelines have no specific size requirement for the library and museum site.
You know, in my 20 years in Congress, the one thing I’ve come to understand about our country’s history is that the success of our country’s security has really been dependent upon individual patriots. I think of people like Jay Stewart.Then there's this
You might not know the name Jay Stewart. Back when Hazel O’Leary was Secretary of Energy under Clinton, Jay Stewart ran a program at the Department of Energy called “Russian Fission.” Jay’s mistake was that he came out and told the truth about Russia’s inability to control its nuclear stockpile. Hazel O’Leary and Bill Clinton’s response was to railroad Jay Stewart out of his job, to end his career, even though he had received the highest award that the Department of Energy gives to its intelligence people.
I think of Dr. Gordon Oehler. Buried in the bowels of the CIA, Dr. Gordon Oehler was in charge of non-proliferation. When Benjamin Netanyahu came out in 1997, Dr. Oehler told us that Israel had evidence that Russia was working with Iran on the Shahab missile system. He came over to brief Congress and made a fundamental mistake that you didn’t make during the Clinton years: he told us the truth. He said, “We have the same information that Israel has: that in fact there is cooperation between Russian engineers to allow Iran to build a missile system that will one day threaten Israel directly and will eventually threaten all of Europe and the U.S.”Regarding some of our most sensitive technology which ended up in the hands of the Chi-Coms, there's this:
Because of Gordon Oehler’s work, we introduced the Iran Missile Sanctions bill. I was a prime sponsor and had bipartisan support. In spite of Al Gore personally lobbying against the bill, we passed it in the House with 398 votes. I got called back down to the White House a second time. The vice president lobbied us for another 90 minutes, before the Senate voted and passed it with 98 votes. That was four months before Clinton vetoed the bill.
As you all know, last summer, Iran paraded the Shahab-3 missile system down the streets of Tehran. It’s now complete. In 1997, we could have stopped it. Gordon Oehler was that patriot who told us the truth, and for that, he lost his job.
I think of Notra Trulock, a member of the Cox Committee back in 1996 and 1997, who sat for seven months behind closed doors with the CIA and the FBI, looking at all of the information about the allegations of China stealing our technology. As you all know, the Cox Commission was established because of Congress’ concern that the Chinese had been able to obtain some of our most sensitive technology. The job of the commission was to answer a simple question: was our security harmed by the transfer of American technology to China? Even though the Commission had 5-to-4 Republican/Democrat margin, the vote on our final report wasn’t 5-to-4; it wasn’t 7-to-2. It was 9-to-0 that our security had been harmed by the technology China ended up acquiring.Rep. Weldon talked about the drastic cutbacks in military spending during the Clinton years:
But it wasn’t because they stole it. It wasn’t the theft of our technology; it was the auctioning off of our technology. In fact, I produced the two charts that the commission would not agree to reproduce, because the charts documented why technology was transferred, showing the linkages between the dollars coming from China and corrupt U.S. Defense contract officials to the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign. The result was presidential waivers that allowed the most sensitive technology to end up in the hands of the Chinese.
I lived through the 1990s, when, for eight years, the Clinton administration cut back our defense resources. John Kennedy had 52 cents of every federal tax dollar going to the military; Clinton took us to 15 cents of the federal tax dollar going for our military in 2000. We went from 9 percent of our GNP under JFK to 2-1/2 percent of our GNP with Clinton..Be sure to read the speech. It'll piss you off!
Those cuts Clinton made ended up cutting back our tactical fighter squadrons, Marine Corps, and Army. That’s why we’re still flying Vietnam-era helicopters. That’s why the B-52 bomber will be eligible for Social Security before I will. That’s why our Navy today, which at one time, had 585 warships; today has 288.
During that time of Clinton cuts, we saw the largest increased deployment of our troops in recent history: 38 deployments in eight years versus 10 deployments in the previous 40 years. None of those 38 deployments were paid for in advance. Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, East Timor, Macedonia, Columbia, on and on – all had to be paid for by cutting into a decreasing defense budget. Thank goodness the Congress was Republican for six of those eight years, because we were able to increase defense spending $43 billion above what Clinton asked for. I hate to think of where we’d be today if we hadn’t been able to do that in the late 1990s.
But, besides those resource cuts and increased deployments, perhaps the real unspoken tragedy of the Clinton administration was the total lack of transparency on proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction technology. I recall it well. I must have given a hundred floor speeches. When we saw technology largely from Russia and China going to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and North Korea.
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PHOENIX AZ
559 PM MST SAT MAR 11 2006
NORTHWEST MARICOPA COUNTY-GREATER PHOENIX AREA-
SOUTHERN GILA/TONTO NF FOOTHILLS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LAKE PLEASANT...MORRISTOWN..
CAVE CREEK...CHANDLER...FOUNTAIN HILLS...GILBERT...GLENDALE..
MIAMI...SAN CARLOS...SUPERIOR...ALSO INCLUDING APACHE..
BARTLETT...CANYON...HORSESHOE...ROOSEVELT...AND SAGUARO LAKES
559 PM MST SAT MAR 11 2006
...HEAVY SNOW WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM MST SUNDAY..
A HEAVY SNOW WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN MARICOPA COUNTY
AND SOUTHERN GILA COUNTY/TONTO NATIONAL FOREST FOOTHILLS ABOVE 2
THOUSAND FEET TONIGHT AND UNTIL 5 AM MST SUNDAY.
RAIN AND SNOW WILL CONTINUE TONIGHT WITH SNOW DOWN TO AN ELEVATION OF
2 THOUSAND FEET. 2 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE BETWEEN 2 AND 3
THOUSAND FEET WITH A HALF FOOT TO A FOOT ABOVE 3 THOUSAND FEET..
AND POSSIBLY OVER A FOOT ABOVE 4 OR 5 THOUSAND FEET.
A HEAVY SNOW WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE
TRAVEL ON ROADS...AND INTO REMOTE AREAS HAZARDOUS.
WEATHER INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON WEATHER RADIO ON THE PUBLIC
SERVICE BAND. MORE DETAILED WEATHER INFORMATION IS ON THE
.....choosing to home-school their kids was a turning point in becoming countercultural. When "you begin challenging fundamental common practices in today's society, once you challenge one, it's easy to challenge them all," he told me. I hear that loud and clear. Julie and I are doing a hybrid home-schooling program with our school-age son, in conjunction with a neighborhood Christian school. When some people, even conservatives, hear that we want to home-school, they think that we are unrealistically trying to raise our kids in a bubble.
We choose a form of home-schooling not to run away from something, but to embrace the radical notion that we know what's best for our children. I want my boys to go as far and as fast as they can in learning about the world, and not to have their imaginations and intellects stifled by conformity. And having gone to public school myself, I don't want my kids socialized by a hypercompetitive and sexualized youth culture where traditional values are sneered at.
Home-schooling is so common now that there are lots of kids whose parents share a common set of cultural values, and who are creating healthy countercultural peer groups for them. Being nonconformist about your kids' schooling doesn't mean you have to turn into hermits, but it does mean taking a stand outside the mainstream.
Do you think you might be a "crunchy con?" Well, Mr. Dreher has a "Crunchy Con" manifesto so you can see how you stack up. I must confess that I can't go along with all of his points but, then as a counterculturist, I can't go along with all of anyone's points. See how you measure up:
I. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.I especially believe in #X. The family is the core of civilization and our culture will only be saved if there are enough families who stand up for and fight to preserve the eternal principles on which this country was founded.
II. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.
III. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.
IV. Culture is more important than politics and economics.
V. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility and good stewardship -- especially of the natural world -- is not fundamentally conservative.
VI. Small, Local, Old and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New and Abstract.
VII. Beauty is more important than efficiency.
VIII. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty and wisdom.
IX. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that "the institution most essential to conserve is the family."
X. Politics and economics will not save us. If our culture is to be saved at all, it will be through living faithfully by the Permanent Things, preserving ancient moral truths in the everyday choices we make.